Two parents were discussing which high school should be chosen for an average, nice student, a quiet young man. They discussed programs like Math and Science Institutes, Law Institutes, Schools for Teaching, programs for the gifted and talented, Pre-Med and Farming. I wanted to jump in and tell them what I knew about one one the schools they were discussing, but decided to keep my mouth shut and just write what I wanted to say here.
I wanted to tell them these programs are a farce. They are gimmicks to attract the best and brightest, but that is all they are. In practice, they offer nothing more than regular classes and there is nothing more. I wanted to tell them that one of the schools they were discussing was the wrong demographic for the boy and that he would feel like a fish out of water in that environment. I wanted to tell them how administrators were given their jobs, about how ill qualified some were and how these incompetent supervisors surrounded themselves with incompetent staff. I wanted to tell the story of a guidance counselor who programmed a Chinese girl from Brooklyn into a class for Spanish speaking natives and saw no problem. I didn't tell them about the AP who supposedly has her teachers supply answers to regents while the exam is going on and the kids graduate prepared for nothing .But I said nothing, not out of loyalty to the school they were discussing, but out of a feeling of not wanting to get involved. All the schools are the same. NCLB, Race To The Top and all the other "innovative" programs of the past have made them this way.
Hopefully,this young man will be fine, where ever he goes to school. He has a strong parental support system and that helps.